The Two Most Powerful Words I’ve Ever Prayed



March 5, 2021

Psalm 74

To the tune of “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart” Sing it at

1 O God, why have You now rejected us?
Why does Your anger burn against Your sheep?
2 You purchased us–Your own inheritance;
Recall Your people, and Mount Zion keep.

3 Turn Your steps toward this devastation great;
The en’my has destroyed the Holy Place.
4 Your foes have roared into Your meeting place,
They’ve set up standards of their own disgrace.

5 They’ve taken axes as men would chop trees;
6 They’ve smashed the carved work, brought unholy shame;
7 They burned Your sanctuary to the ground;
Defiled the dwelling place of Your great name.

8 They said within their hearts, “We’ll crush them whole!”
They burned each place where worship was of Thee;
9 No mighty signs or prophets can be found,
And none of us knows how long this will be.

10 How long, O God, will foes deride Your name?
How long will enemies their scorn deploy?
11 Why do You hold Your hand back and delay?
Take Your right hand from waiting, and destroy!

12 You, O my God, are my king from of old;
You bring salvation upon the earth;
13 You split the sea wide open by Your pow’r.
14 You crushed the monsters and Leviathan’s girth.

15 You opened springs and dried up rivers’ flow;
16 The day and night, sun, moon belong to You;
17 You set earth’s bound’ries; where they end, You know;
You made the summer and the winter too.

18 Now, Lord, remember how Your foes do mock,
How foolish people have relived Your name;
19 Don’t hand Your dove to wild beasts to devour,
And don’t forget Your people, clothed in shame.

20 Keep Your own covenant, O Lord, in mind,
For dark and violence now fill all the land;
21 Don’t let Your poor, oppressed, no mercy find,
But may the needy praise Your mighty hand.

22 Rise up, O God, and now defend Your cause;
See how fools mock You each day scornfully;
23 Do not ignore the clamor of Your foes;
Their uproar rises up continually.


Song 74 reminds me of a time several years ago when we hosted my friend Pete Greig, the leader of an international prayer movement, for the opening of the Asbury House of Prayer. At the close of one of his evening messages, after recounting the devastating need for God amid the ruins of the world, he led the packed house in an unbelievably simple yet unforgettably powerful prayer. He instructed us that all five hundred of us were going to pray aloud at the same time, as loudly as we possibly could, for a duration of five minutes. The prayer would consist of two words: “Come on!”

Never before and never since have I been part of such a powerful crying out to God. Just two words. Talk about storming the gates! I’m not sure I had ever shouted like that before in my life. Take the most raucous athletic contest you’ve ever attended and multiply that by three and you will get close. Though it took a moment to gain the self-permission to do such a thing, the praying soon took on the quality of abandoned impatience, of a deeply desperate emotional pleading. “Come on! Come on! Come on!”

The singer makes an interesting play with Song 74. Most laments tend to center around the woes of those who are lamenting. The words of the prayers focus around their own pain and despair. Song 74 takes another tack. After likely exhausting the depths of the pain of the people, the poet drills down into the angst of the Almighty. The shame is no longer located with the people. It now lands squarely on God. Note how many times we see the words You and Your and Thee.

It is as though the singer stands before God and says things like, “How long are you going to take this? They are making a mockery of you! How long are you going to take this? They are making you look weak! Come on, Yahweh! Not only have they burned your house, but they are systematically erasing your memory from your land! Come on!” Then the song reminds God of his own glorious record in a play-by-play kind of way. The singer appeals boldly to God to arise and defend his own honor, for his own sake.

So as you read today’s paper or watch the evening news, as you see the unbearable suffering in a place like war-torn Syria and countless others, think about Song 74 and remember the two little words. And if you are feeling bold, go for it. “Come on! Come on! Come on! Come on!” Before you get to the shout, you may want to try the song. Sing Song 74 now.

Ask Yourself. Share with Another.

Can you think of a situation in your life in which you want to scream out, “Come on!” to God? Try finding a place where no one can hear you and go for it.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.